Idea No.


Space Party -5yr- NASA Logos & Stationary



November 2009


Sarah in Johannesburg, South Africa

Runner Up

Space Party

For my son's 5th birthday party we decided to have an astronaut party. 

I made simple INVITATIONS that were made to look like official NASA stationery, inviting each astronaut candidate to come to the International Space Center at our home to help Commander Spencer with his space mission.  To make a simple invitation more interesting, I had my husband dress in a NASA shirt and lab coat, and he went to school and interrupted the class to explain what happened.  He said that aliens had come to earth and stolen Commander Spencer's birthday present, taken it apart, and hidden it all over the solar system.  NASA was looking for astronaut candidates to train as astronauts and travel through space to find the missing pieces and asked if any of them wanted to help.  The kids, especially Spencer, loved this and it created a great vibe before the party. 

To DECORATE, we turned our large jungle gym into the International Space Station by wrapping it with lots of bubble wrap and foil, and sticking on a few NASA logos.  I made a rocket out of cardboard and added 2L bottle tops and other lids and foil.  It was big enough for 3 kids to play in at once and outside near the space station.  I turned my living room into Mission Control by covering the tv unit with cardboard decorated with more lids and NASA logos and blue and red electrical tape.  Here I also hung several cheap space posters, two inflatable space shuttles, and an inflatable planet earth. 

When our guests arrived, they were given their COSTUMES  a disposable tyvek overall cut down and decorated with a NASA sticker, name sticker, flag and red and blue electrical tape stripes.  I made a belt for each in one of three colors to help keep them up as I could only find adult medium sizes.  Each child also got a space pack white painted cereal box with webbing straps, a 1L Coke bottle, 2 silver-painted toilet paper rolls, and more decals.  They were delighted.  As the kids arrived they played on the Space Station and added more decals to their boxes. 

To start our GAMES, I introduced myself as Flight Director Sarah (my husband and I were in NASA shirts) and moved everyone into Mission Control for training.  I explained that before they could go to space they needed to be trained, and so I talked them through the basics, including a lesson on the solar system.  I asked lots of questions and only took 10 minutes so they weren't bored.  Then I had them do some exercises like real astronauts, and to wrap up I gave an intro to rocket launching where we watched a space shuttle launch from a podcast.  The kids were really in awe.  The launch video also helped me explain why we couldn't really go to space, a question all the parents had had to address for weeks. 

As the final part of our training the kids got to launch rockets.  My husband built a 3-unit launcher using water, 2L Coke bottles and bicycle pumps.  We got some instructions online from various sources.  The rockets shot up well above the biggest trees, spewing out the water all the while, and everyone loved it.  Then we handed out medals as everyone had passed their training and was now an astronaut. 

At this stage, I split the kids into 3 teams (by the color of their spacesuit belt) and they began their journey.  The teams rotated through 3 parts of the solar system, to find the aliens and beat them at their games so that they could get the present pieces back.  For each alien, I made a satin-lined cape with some fun spacey fabric I found, a foam mask with some extra eyes on pipe cleaners, and an enormous hat of Styrofoam cups glued together (from Martha Stewart). 

The first stop was the Moon, which was our garage, blacked out and with a black light.  I had two moon rocks for each child, which were little toy aliens and glow in the dark balls covered in baking soda paste and baked an idea from this site.  I painted them with glow in the dark paint for better impact.  The alien told the kids that once each child found two rocks, he would surrender a piece.  Once the kids collected all the rocks, they got to put them into tubs of vinegar to watch them fizz and sizzle and reveal the goodies inside, which they put in their packs. 

The second stop was Mars, which was my office, draped in cheap red fabric.  The alien there had bowls of Space Sand for each child, and explained that once a child could make an island out of the sand she would surrender the present piece.  Space Sand doesn't stick to water and this was a lot of fun for the kids. 

The third stop was the International Space Station, where an alien was waiting to surprise the kids with a challenge of finding two asteroids each, which were hidden Easter Egg Hunt-style in the grass.  One was a compass wrapped in yellow tissue, another was a space stretchy wrapped in foil.  The teams collected 3 presents each, totalling 9 packages and brought them to Mission Control, where I had a DVD of Hubble photos playing. 

It was then time for SNACKS (astronaut ice cream, individual cheese pizzas, half slices of watermelon and Kool-Aid) before we had the cake. 

For the CAKE I made 2x 6 and 3x 4 circular cakes and cut each in half and laid them on a cake board to make a rocket shape, then carved the end into a point.  I covered the whole thing with fondant and decorated it as a rocket, with boosters and stars lying around it on the board.  Very easy and my son got to help with it.  After the singing and cake my son opened the 9 packages the kids had reclaimed from the aliens and with his dad put them together it was a model Saturn V rocket that came apart as in real life. 

Believe it or not this all took less than 2 hours, I think because the kids were so well behaved.  When they left, we passed out simple silver bags filled with:  an inflatable space shuttle, a decorate your own solar system scene, a bag of pop rocks, a glow in the dark bracelet, and 2 space-fact cards.  Most things I got from OTC or The Space Store.  Our thank-you's matched the invites.  The best compliment was when one of the boys asked me a few days later if he could come to Spencer's party again!

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